Pope Francis Opens Gathering of Faith Leaders at Vatican

Contributed By MormonNewsroom.org

  • 17 November 2014

Pope Francis greets President Henry B. Eyring in the Synod Hall at Vatican City as the colloquium on marriage begins.  © Chris Warde-Jones/Humanum.it.

VATICAN CITY—Opening the historic meeting of religious leaders gathered at the Vatican to discuss the importance of marriage, Pope Francis said, “For most of us, the family provides the principal place where we can aspire to greatness as we strive to realize our full capacity for virtue and charity.”

“I pray that your colloquium will be an inspiration to all who seek to support and strengthen the union of man and woman in marriage as a unique, natural, fundamental, and beautiful good for persons, communities, and whole societies,” Pope Francis said.

From Synod Hall, Pope Francis addressed hundreds of religious leaders and scholars from 14 faith traditions and 23 countries who are gathered for the colloquium on the family, titled “The Complementarity of Man and Woman.”

“Evidence is mounting that the decline of the marriage culture is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills, disproportionately affecting women, children, and the elderly,” Pope Francis said. “It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis.”

“The crisis in the family has produced an ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection,” Pope Francis said. 

Just after his address, Pope Francis warmly individually greeted and shook hands with several faith leaders, including President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President Eyring is among the religious leaders who have been asked to offer a “witness” to the importance of marriage from their faith’s perspective. He will address the assembly on November 18. Accompanying President Eyring at the Vatican is Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Bishop Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric.

The importance of marriage and its place in society and in God's eternal plan has been emphasized repeatedly by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1995 the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” which declares the Church's position on the family and warns of the consequences of its breakdown (see also “The Divine Institution of Marriage”).